If the current economic downturn is getting you worried, don’t panic. Recessions come and go. The best time you can do for your bar, club, or restaurant is to prepare for the uncertainty and have a plan for learning how to increase bar sales.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it's that anything can happen. If you take on the unknown with a plan and fresh new ideas, you'll have the opportunity to recession-proof your business and gain the peace of mind you need to get through tough times.

Not sure where to start? We’re here to help.

We put together a list of ideas to increase bar business and turn it into one of the best recession-proof businesses in your community.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Tips for the bar industry in a recession

Start planning early

The early bird gets the worm. There’s no telling when an economic downturn will hit. If you wait until the last minute to make substantial changes to your business practices: You risk your business and everything you've worked for up until this point.

Consider where you can start cutting costs and budgeting. Put together a marketing campaign that will help you attract new customers and keep them coming back for more. Rethink your business best practices and review your vendor costs. Every small change you make now can lead to a positive impact if things start to go south.

Add a personal touch

The bar area in Street Pride Helsinki, showing a sign to customers that reads "Be Queer, Be Happy"
Street Pride, Helsinki

When the going gets tough: Consumers go to the ones they know and love the most. If someone feels down and wants an ice-cold drink, they'll go straight to their comfort place. They'll come back for happy hours, drinks, karaoke nights, and dinner.

There's much more value in a returning visitor than a one-time visitor. Every customer that walks through the doors should experience the ins and outs of your bar's personality. They should feel welcomed and excited every time they come. They want to know the bartenders' names and always sit in the same seats.

If you can build relationships that last, you can generate referrals and continue to build a loyal customer base that appreciates your contribution to the community.

Embrace technology

Technology is there to help improve workplace productivity and make your life easier. It’s easy to get swept away in the chaos of the workday, especially if your restaurant or club is busy. With the help of technology, you can take some of this stress away from your employees so they can focus on improving the customer experience.

For example, let's say you want to set up karaoke rooms at your bar or nightclub. With the help of a technological solution like Singa, customers can self-host their own karaoke session at the venue. Your employees won't need to be involved in the process. So you can focus on more important tasks while your customers have a good time.

Drag queen using Singa karaoke in a self-hosted karaoke room
Self-hosted Karaoke at Street Pride

Other technology solutions your bar, club, or restaurant should consider using include:

  • Contactless payment options
  • Online reservation system
  • QR codes at tables
  • Management Software
  • Order from table

Even though most technology comes at a cost, always consider the value these tools will add to your workplace. Whether you set up karaoke rooms that generate an extra stream of revenue or add QR codes and make it possible for individuals to order from their table: Everything will impact your bottom line and help you see results.

Minimize labor costs

We get it. It’s not always easy to let go of your top talent or to lay your employees off. Instead of doing layoffs, consider building a lean, fast and efficient team. If you take the time to keep them happy and build trust with each employee, you'll create a hard-working team that will help you see results.

Diversify your streams of income

Music quiz at Bollbrolyckan to bring in new customer
Music quiz at Bollbrolyckan

Don’t put all of your eggs into one basket. If your only source of income is your drinks or food, you could be in a world of trouble later down the line. Think outside the box and look for fun ways to gain revenue. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

If you want to add on additional streams of income, you’ll need to start by rethinking your marketing strategy. Look for ways to diversify your customer base and reach a new audience. This will help you attract more individuals to your location throughout the year.

Make more ingredients in-house

When was the last time you took a step back and considered the cost of all the items you ordered? Are there any items you and your team could be made in-house?

Always opting to invest in the final product could be more expensive than you might think. For example, if you make coffee liqueur, vanilla syrup, and grenadine in-house, you'll save money, produce a high quantity, and most likely create a higher-quality product.

Doing this will also be a great marketing opportunity for your business. You can update the menus and let customers know which items are made in-house. This is a great value add that will help you stand out from the rest of your competition.

Jump in to help where you can

The cheapest employee is yourself. You may have grown accustomed to only handling the operations of running your business. However, don’t be afraid to jump in and help where you can. This is a great way to cut labor costs and keep your drive during tough times. You’ll grow a stronger connection with your business and the people you work with.

Sign up for Singa

iPad with Singa karaoke and two microphones in a bar
Singa karaoke in Kraken Bar 

We’ll let you in on a secret: karaoke is one of the best tools you can use if you want to recession-proof your business. Karaoke is a fun, and light-hearted experience consumers can enjoy with their friends and family. It’s a low-cost source of entertainment that everyone can enjoy after a long day at work.

Singa is one of the most popular karaoke solutions on the market. It has a high return on investment and takes your everyday bar experience to the next level. Once you have Singa set up, you can let it work its magic in the background. Customers can queue songs, sing with friends, and make memories that last a lifetime.

To learn more about our business solutions and how they can help during the current economic downturn, contact us today.